Monday, November 15, 2010

Mayon Volcano - Philippines

Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active stratovolcano in the province of Albay, in the Bicol Region, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.
Renowned as the "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetrically conical shape, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City. Local folklore refers to the volcano as Bulkang Magayon (Filipino: 'Magayon Volcano'), after the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon (Bikol: 'Lady Beautiful').
On October 13, 2008 it was included in New 7 Wonders of Nature Top 10 list. However, it did not make the cut to the Top 25 finalists, giving way to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, another site in the Philippines.
Mayon Volcano is an active stratovolcano. The current cone was formed through pyroclastic and lava flows from past eruptions. Mayon is the most active of the active volcanoes in the Philippines, having erupted over 49 times in the past 400 years.
It is located on the eastern side of Luzon, beside the Philippine Trench which is the convergent boundary where the Philippine Sea Plate is driven under the Philippine Mobile Belt. Where a continental plate or belt of continental fragments meets an oceanic plate, the lighter continental material overrides the oceanic plate, forcing it down into the Earth's mantle. Magma may be forced through weaknesses in the continental crust caused by the collision of the tectonic plates. One such exit point is Mayon. Like other volcanoes located around the rim of the Pacific Ocean, Mayon is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Mayon Volcano is the main landmark of Albay Province, Philippines. It is 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the Gulf of Albay, in the cities and municipalities of Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo (clockwise from Legazpi). It rises 2462 m (8,077 ft) above the gulf.
Mayon Volcano is the Philippines’ most active volcano and is considered to be the world's most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetrical cone. It is a basaltic-andesitic volcano. The upper slopes of the volcano are steep averaging 35-40 degrees and are capped by a small summit crater. Its sides are layers of lava and other volcanic material.
Mayon has undergone forty-nine eruptions in recorded history. The first recorded major eruption was in 1616. Its 48th and latest major eruption was a quiet effusion of lava on July 14, 2008, which was aggravated when a lahar caused by the rains of Typhoon Durian followed on November 30, 2006. A further summit eruption occurred on August 10, 2008. At present the volcano is weakly erupting and may be building up to a larger hazardous eruption.
The most destructive eruption of Mayon occurred on February 1, 1814. Lava flowed but not as much compared to the 1766 eruption. Instead, the volcano was belching dark ash and eventually bombarding the town with tephra that buried the town of Cagsawa—only the bell tower of the town's church remained above the new surface. Trees were burned; rivers were certainly damaged. Proximate areas were also devastated by the eruption with ash accumulating to 9 m (30 ft) in depth. 2,200 Albay locals perished in what is considered to be the most lethal eruption in Mayon's history.
Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines, and its activity is regularly monitored by PHIVOLCS from their provincial headquarters on Lignon Hill, about 10 kilometers away from the summit. Three telemetric units are installed on Mayon's slopes, which send information to the seven seismometers in different locations around the volcano. These instruments relay data to the Lignon Hill observatory and the PHIVOLCS central headquarters on the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. PHIVOLCS also deploys electronic distance meters (EDMs), precise leveling benchmarks, and portable fly spectrometers to monitor the volcano's daily activity.



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